Kick Off a Healthy School Year

Make this school year a healthy one for your kids with these 10 tips.
By Michael Rhattigan



Kick Off a Healthy School Year

We all know the importance of good health for children. What can you do to make this school year a healthy one for your kids?

Here are 10 ideas:

1.  Start with healthy meals.
Make an extra effort to provide healthy meals and snacks, including healthy lunches. Involving them in the process (helping you buy and prepare food) can provide quality bonding time and teaching moments.

2.  Create a plan for regular physical activity for your kids.
Physical activity levels have fallen drastically in this generation of children, both at school and at home. Make sure your kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, including sports, outdoor play, and indoor activities.

3.  Lead by example.
Kids learn by example so incorporate regular physical activity and healthy foods into your daily life.

4.  Educate your kids regularly on health.
It seems obvious, but it's easy to forget. Taking time to point out healthy choices and to explain their benefits can have a huge impact. For example, talk about healthy versus unhealthy food choices while shopping or eating at a restaurant.

5. Make healthy living a game and track it.
Children are more likely to buy in if there's a contest or a goal to track. Here's a simple tracker that you can use with your kids.

6.  Support efforts to bring back regular PE and recess.
Budget cuts and the increased focus on testing have frequently resulted in reductions or the complete elimination of both, despite increased evidence on their educational and health benefits. Help your schools bring these back by supporting the efforts of local districts and organizations.

7.  Support healthy lunches and local garden initiatives.
Many districts and individual schools are working to improve the nutritional value of food in schools by improving lunch options and planting local gardens.

8.  Ensure there are indoor activities.
Plenty of outdoor games and activities exist, but many teachers and parents lack solutions for inclement weather (or early morning on a Saturday). Gyms and sports facilities provide plenty of fun activities. Plus, a growing number of indoor solutions are available for physical activity right at home or in the general classroom.

9.  Help drive school health fairs.
More and more schools are introducing health fairs as a way to educate kids and parents. Topics often include physical fitness, nutrition, immunizations, and even sleep habits.

10.  Encourage staff wellness programs.
The more that schools and organizations implement wellness programs for their employees, the more this will translate to their students and children.

What are your ideas? Please post your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.